Thursday, 16 August 2007

Results of the class

The Independent is reporting that selective state grammar and independent schools are overwhelmingly responsible for the rise in A-grade passes at A-level. This growing divide in achievement between state and private schools is now at its widest for more than a decade. This comes from Mike Creswell, director general of the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance.

The education charity, the Sutton Trust has also published a report revealing that the gap in private and state schools in higher in the UK than any other country in the Western world.

The rise in A-level passes has been far more limited in comprehensive schools and, in the country's remaining secondary modern schools, there has been no improvement in a decade. Headteachers are concerned that the introduction of the A* grade, available to those who sit the exam in 2010, will only widen this gulf.

Professor Alan Smithers, the head of the Centre for Education and Employment at the University of Buckingham, said the private schools' rise in performance was largely down to their students' subject choices. "These schools would offer subjects like further maths and physics and foreign languages - subjects where there are a high percentage of A grades. Across the system as a whole you've got this growth in subjects like media studies and the expressive arts - whereas it is more traditional academic subjects which have the highest percentage of A grade passes."

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